European Union funded initiative of Frankfurt Zoological Society
Key African ecosystems are providing positive, lasting and wide-ranging biodiversity conservation and human livelihood benefits (impact and outcomes)
- Local communities are empowered and, with other stakeholders, actively engaged in conservation, sustainable use and sustainable livelihoods of the Serengeti & Luangwa Ecosystems through the piloting of the CBD's ecosystem approach
- Decentralised and cross-sectoral institutional mechanisms established for effective collaboration between diverse stakeholders in ecosystem management
- Understanding of ecosystem structure, function, services, and management needs and priorities improved
- Institutional capacity for management of ecosystem natural resources strengthened, especially with regard local communities
- Incentives for local communities to be responsible custodians of ecosystem resources developed and strengthened
- Adaptive Management systems based on monitoring
• Establishment of Serengeti Ecosystem Forum.
The Serengeti Ecosystem Forum was established in July 2007 to promote collaboration in areas of common interest among stakeholders and friends of the Serengeti ecosystem. This is for the purpose of strengthening sustainable conservation of the ecosystem through advancing the principles of ecosystem management and stewardship of natural resources using innovative and pragmatic strategies that are actively engaging the civil society, private sector, non-governmental organizations, government and its institutions in conservation.
A rare collaboration of diverse stakeholders throughout the ecosystem, SEF holds regular meetings to discuss key threats to the ecosystem, and ways to mitigate them collectively. Working groups within SEF allow stakeholders with common interests to combine resources to address important issues including anti-poaching, research, community projects, conservation education, and policy etc.
• Community Conservation Banks (COCOBAs)
FZS-SEMP has supported the establishment of Community Conservation Banks (COCOBAs) in several districts throughout the ecosystem. COCOBAs utilize a community savings and banking loans model in which 15-30 community members collectively contribute weekly to a common bank, from which they are later able to take low-interest loans to support conservation-friendly income generating activities. Further supporting the conservation aspect of this enterprise, four of the groups recently established consist entirely of former illegal bushmeat hunters who have agreed to stop poaching wildlife and are looking for alternative livelihood options.
The effectiveness of the COCOBA scheme is due to its emphasis on elements of self-help initiatives, community capacity building and local resources mobilization, community’s project ownership and joint management. The banks themselves are long-lasting and sustainable, and have been shown to be one of the most effective tools at reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. However the training and to establish these groups is intensive and costly. FZS-SEMP has implemented a Training of Trainers approach to build expert capacity within the district and village levels, which has resulted in 24 COCOBA groups throughout 3 districts.
• Preparation of participatory Village Land Use Plans
Land use planning is a participatory process in which the village itself decides to designate land for specific purposes including grazing, agriculture, residential, conservation for natural resource use and, in some case, wildlife areas. Land use plans are an essential tool for conservation, by helping to secure and strengthen land tenure in the hands of the local communities while also empowering them to be responsible managers. It is the first step in the process of gazetting a WMA.
• IKONA Wildlife Management Area
Ikona WMA is made up of 5 villages in the NW Serengeti ecosystem. The WMA was established in 2006, with the goal of divesting management authority of wildlife in an area outside of the National park and game reserves to local communities. The communities are represented within the WMA through the AA (Authorised Authority). Contracts with private investors in this area are directd back to communities with the goal of providing direct incentive for conservation of wildlife areas. SEMP has assisted in the WMA process from its inception in 1998, and continues to support the WMA with capacity building, ranger training and technical expertise.
• MAKAO Wildlife Management Area
The proposed Makao WMA is comprised of 7 villages in the SW of Serengeti ecosystem. SEMP has facilitated land use plans and mapping of the designated area, as well as provided training and sensitisation of the guidelines and principles of the WMA process to member villages. The proposed WMA is expected to be gazetted in 2009.
• LOLIONDO Forest Management Area
Since June 2008, FZS-SEMP has been supporting a community-based initiative to assist with forest conservation in the Loliondo Highland Forest in the eastern Serengeti ecosystem. The ecological importance of this forest is indisputable, as it provides key ecosystem services for Serengeti including serving as a water catchment which feeds into both the Grumeti River and Lake Natron. However, the forest is being devastated by illegal timber harvesting and land clearing as Maasai living in the surrounding areas convert forest land into agricultural fields. The community and the district have joined hands to take action to conserve this forest for their own heritage. FZS-SEMP has been helping to facilitate this initiative by working with communities to establish a Joint Forest Management Area. Under JFM, the communities agree to maintain and conserve the forest. In exchange, villages are given more secure land rights and management capacity. Communities stand to benefit directly from conservation of this forest through investment in tourism initiatives, or payment for ecosystem services.